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A greener future for the superyacht industry

Development of various environmental index tools is a positive step but the yacht industry urgently needs a consolidated approach, says LR’s Engel-Jan de Boer

The superyacht industry is making positive progress towards finding effective ways to measure a yacht’s environmental impact, but there is an urgent need for these efforts to be consolidated.

areal view of superyachts in the port of Monaco
Superyachts in Monaco

A key step towards improving the superyacht industry’s environmental footprint is finding an effective method of measuring it. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has implemented various instruments to measure the environmental impact of vessels in the commercial shipping industry – the Energy Efficiency Existing ship Index (EEXI) and Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) relate to energy efficiency at a determined single condition (measured in CO2 emitted by transport work done) and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) relates to the operational carbon intensity observed in a year – but these are not yet applicable to most yachts. Various independent environmental index tools for yachts, however, are being developed in a proactive effort by the industry to take responsibility for reducing its own environmental footprint.

While Lloyd’s Register (LR) has been involved with the development of all the various yacht indices to some extent, and greatly supports the various initiatives, there are concerns that the approach is becoming too fragmented. “We are committed to driving the decarbonisation effort within the yachting sector, including working with alternative fuels, looking at energy consumption and assisting with the development of these environmental indices,” explains Engel-Jan de Boer, LR’s Global Yacht Segment Director. “We believe, however, that the efforts need to be consolidated and the industry needs to agree on one single index.”

The need for a united front has never been pressing. While the IMO hasn’t specifically targeted the superyacht industry with any of its environmental regulations thus far, yachts were mentioned for the first time as one of the ship types in its latest Greenhouse Gas Study – showing that the sector is increasingly on the environmental radar.

“The past has taught us that if we don’t act upon incoming regulations at an early stage, we could have issues,” adds de Boer. “That is exactly what happened with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) – the industry acted too late and had difficulty adjusting to unsuitable requirements. We don’t want to make the same mistake with environmental indices.”


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